Afghanistan to Restart Polio Vaccine Campaign After IS Retreat


by Zabihullah Ghazi
Afghanistan will restart a polio vaccination drive in the coming days for thousands of children in remote eastern regions previously controlled by the Islamic State, provincial authorities say.

Polio vaccinations have been on hold for more than 18 months because health workers were not able to safely travel to three restive districts in Nangarhar province, which borders Pakistan. In all, the new drive will attempt to reach 137 districts in 14 provinces where the polio virus is active.

IS has been blocking polio vaccination campaigns, saying the Afghan government and the West are using health workers for intelligence-gathering purposes. IS also gave out misinformation about the polio efforts, saying the vaccine causes long-term fertility problems for both boys and girls, and it contains pork products, which are unlawful under Islamic law.

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